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Chamber
INSOUCIANCE AND VIRTUOSITY IN GALWAY'S BRILLIANT WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Mark Wardlaw
Friday, March 18, 2016
The man with the golden flute brought inimitable Irish charm and sterling musicianship March 18 to Weill Hall for a delightful concert experience. Sir James Galway, joined by flutist Lady Jeanne Galway and pianist Phillip Moll, enthralled an appreciative audience with a colorful array of musical mor...
Chamber
STRING CHAMBER MUSIC IN LAKEPORT'S SOPER REESE THEATER
by Paula Mulligan
Sunday, March 13, 2016
As part of the Contemporary Chamber Music Series in March 13 in Lakeport’s Soper Reese Theater, the Pajaro Hill Ensemble performed a varied program that included Bach, Dvorak, J. Ives and Brahms. Under the leadership of first violinist Tammie Dyer, whose exquisite tone always shone without dominati...
Chamber
LINCOLN TRIO IN RARE WORKS AT OAKMONT CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Chicago’s Lincoln Trio returned for a fifth time to Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium Concert Series Mar. 10 with a challenging and uncommon program that began with Rebecca Clarke’s Trio from 1921. Starting a concert with this formidable work seemed risky, not because of the Oakmont audience but simply f...
Chamber
EIGHT PIANISTS IN SOPER REESE LAKEPORT BENEFIT CONCERT
by Paula Mulligan
Sunday, March 06, 2016
A splendid treat awaited those who braved the storm March 6 to hear the fifth-annual piano concert given as a benefit in Lakeport’s Soper Reese Theater.  Eight pianists took to the stage with varied styles and a good deal of hilarity at times during the informal performance, which felt more like a f...
Chamber
NEW FALCON'S IMPRESSIVE VALLEJO CONCERT DEBUT
by James Roy MacBean
Sunday, March 06, 2016
The New Falcon String Quartet gave its debut performance March 6 under the aegis of Vallejo Symphony Orchestra in Vallejo’s First Presbyterian Church. Formed only five weeks earlier, arising phoenix-like out of the ashes of another group, which was to bear the name Peregrine Quartet, and New Fal...
Chamber
VAL MOON MINI FESTIVAL ENDS WITH SPIRITUAL BEETHOVEN SONATAS
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, March 05, 2016
In the final of four chamber music concerts by Valley of the Moon Festival musicians, three of Beethoven's iconic cello and piano sonatas were played March 5 to an appreciative audience in Schroeder Hall. Cellist Tanya Tomkins and fortepianist Eric Zivian performed on historic instruments appropria...
Chamber
VALEDICTORY CYPRESS QUARTET CONCERT IN SCHROEDER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 28, 2016
Parting can be such sweet sorrow, but better than either was the Cypress String Quartet’s farewell North Bay concert Feb. 28 in Schroeder. The group will disband in June in their San Francisco hometown. Violinist Tom Stone’s remarks to the audience of 175 about Haydn set the stage for sure-footed ...
Chamber
COMPELLING CELLO PROMINENCE IN DOMINICAN U. CONCERT
by Vicky Ehrlich
Sunday, February 21, 2016
It could go like this: arrive at Dominican University, park just outside Angelico Hall and perhaps cross a quaint campus bridge over a creek before taking a Hall seat for for a Dominican University Guest Concert Series event featuring the San Francisco Chamber Players. Faculty pianist June Choi Oh ...
Chamber
SCHUMANN'S FIRST AND A SCARY GHOST IN TRIO NAVARRO SCHROEDER CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, February 21, 2016
The Trio Navarro is celebrating its 24th season as artists in residence at Sonoma State, and pianist Marilyn Thompson, cellist Jill Rachuy Brindel and currently violinist Victor Romasevich have enriched chamber music in the North Bay by their artistry and the exceptional embrace of eclectic repertoi...
Chamber
ELEGANT VAL MOON SCHUBERTIADE IN SCHROEDER
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Musicians from Valley of the Moon Music Festival presented their third Spring concert Feb. 13 in Schroeder. This group focuses on music of Classical and Romantic composers played on historic instruments. The 1841 fortepiano played by Eric Zivian has an all-wooden frame and shorter strings than a m...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Trio Navarro / Sunday, November 06, 2011
Trio Navarro: Roy Malan, violin; Jill Rachuy Brindel, cello; Marilyn Thompson, piano

Sonoma State University's Trio Navarro

BRIDGE AND TURINA WORKS SPARKLE IN TRIO NAVARRO CONCERT AT SSU

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 06, 2011

An old musical friend was juxtaposed with two not-quite-so-old interlopers Nov. 6 when the venerable Trio Navarro opened their 2011-2012 season at Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center 1028. Mendelssohn’s iconic D Minor Trio was the old shoe and Trios by Bridge and Turina were the unfamiliar fare.

In a surprise program alignment the rarely-played Bridge C Minor Fantasie Trio and Turina’s Op. 35 Trio comprised the long second half, and both works are episodic and difficult to get to know in a single hearing. The Turina, from 1926 and written in a style that combines Spanish elements with arguably early 20th Century French style, received a strong performance led at the outset by violinist Roy Malan’s penetrating high register. The rhapsodic nature changed quickly in the following Theme and (5) Variations to a more somber tone. Mr. Malan alternated bright pizzicato phrases with cellist Jill Brindel, combined with intriguing rhythmic syncopations. Pianist Marilyn Thompson deftly played the jazz-influenced Basque dance (zortziko) in the third variation, the obverse to the murmuring pianissimo ending in the strings.

The Trio attached the concluding movement aggressively, the piano part marching up and down the keyboard and heralding themes from the preceding movements.

Bridge’s first Trio (Fantasie) dates from 1908 and is in a single movement. The Navarro’s quick and impulsive opening set the stage for the rich but often darkly-tines melodic lines from the cello and violin, the specter of Faure not far away. The ensemble was particularly good in the swirl of notes, Ms. Thompson pushing the pace. The noble second theme was elegantly played by Ms. Brindel with a broad vibrato and subtle ritards are phrase endings. On either side of the beguiling central Andante the performance sparkled and often surged. It was music in a performance that was optimistic when compared to the intricate Turina.

The concert began with the first Mendelssohn Trio, Op. 49, perhaps the most played work now before the public for this combination of instruments. The performance was dedicated by Ms. Brindel to the memory of her mother who had died the previous day. In the opening Molto allegro ed agitato with its extended patrician cello solo the chosen approach was slow and lyrical, lacking the usual speed and snap that characterizes much of the music. Mr. Malan’s tone and projection, soaring during the Turina and Bridge, was here often covered by Ms. Brindel in a venue that seems to love low frequencies. Ms. Thompson, a consummate chamber music pianist, chose clarity over drama and never covered her partners. It was playing of refinement and proportion but lacked energy.

In the lyrical Andante the tempo was again relaxed with subtle voice leading from the pianist and cellist, and Ms. Thompson varying the character of the repeats with discerning dynamic changes. The charming Scherzo, always a crowd pleaser, found Mr. Malan making small portamento to lovely effect. In the concluding rondo (Allegro) Ms. Brindel dug deep, projecting a bass line to compliment the galloping scales from the pianist. Missing in the sonic balance were some of the sforzando outbursts, especially from the piano part, that add spice and make this revered work feel like a welcome acquaintance.

Mention needs to be made of the room's piano, celebrating its 100th birthday and a favorite instrument of Ms. Thompson. There is captivating music coming in the piano’s next century, and plenty of life in the old girl yet.